Ep. 176: Summer Savings Camps!


Consumers' podcast graphic with image of guest Dondrea Brown and title "Summer Savings Camps"

Join Lynne on this episode of Money, I’m Home as she is joined by Dondrea Brown, founder and president of Young Money Finances. Discover the Grand Rapids-based financial education program’s unique summer camp offerings to kids and teens in the southwest Michigan area.


0:00:06.6 Lynne Jarman-Johnson: Money, I’m Home! Welcome in. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. From finance to fitness, we have it all. I’ll tell you what, we are really excited because we have a wonderful partnership, and I’ve already introduced you once to Dondrea Brown. He is the founder, the president, the owner of Young Money Finances here in the Grand Rapids area, West Michigan. Dondrea, thanks for being with us again today.

0:00:32.6 Dondrea Brown: Yes, I’m happy to be here.

0:00:34.2 LJJ: Well, I’ll tell you what, since the last time we chatted, the excitement is just growing. You’ve got summer camps that are on their way. Tell us a little bit about what these summer camps entail, and can people still get involved?

0:00:47.5 DB: Yes, Lynne. So again, thank you for having me on. For us, we are beyond excited this summer to have our in-person camps, so we’ll be starting the summer off with our Young Money Managers Camp. So if you know any teens from the age of 11 to 17, yes, there is still time, but that window is closing because that is one of our most popular camps! So, that’s our Young Money Managers Camp, where we’ll be focusing on basic money management, teaching kids how to spend, save, share and invest their money, but also helping them to create realistic financial goals that they can accomplish within the three-week period for the camps.

0:01:24.2 LJJ: I’ll tell you, I have been so excited. I’ve been meeting with you and also getting to look at the products that you bring to the table for these young kids. And the coolest part, I think, is really… It’s something that you’re working on with them as you go. It’s not like a, “Here’s a piece of paper, go home and do this.” This is really a back-and-forth interactive type of a camp.

0:01:48.1 DB: Yeah, and that’s the thing that I like about it because I say for “students, by students.” So, when we started to develop the curriculum as well as the tools and our Money Manager kits. And our Money Manager kits are the kits that the students are going to receive during the camps, my kids were the ones that help speak into some of the fun and engaging tools and activities that can be involved in a camp. So my youngest daughter is 15 and very outspoken about not making finances boring, right? Making it fun, make it an engaging. So that’s what we want to bring to the classroom setting.

0:02:18.5 LJJ: Well, that’s awesome. So, tell me a little bit about these classroom settings, like are they at night? You mentioned this, they’re back in-person again, which I think is really important to you, isn’t it?

0:02:27.7 DB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because we know that it’s important, especially when we start to talk about money, you have to get hands-on when we start to talk about those things. Not only students, but adults want that type of education hands-on, they want it realistic, they want it tangible, so we’re happy to bring that. So, we start our Young Money Managers camp again on June 20th, but the time will be from 11am to 1pm. So the great thing about 11-1, you know it’s right crossing over with lunch time, so we want to make sure that we feed the students, we keep them engaged in some activities, but they leave the camp inspired knowing that they can actually accomplish some of their goals.

0:03:04.1 LJJ: Now, you have other camps plus, Dondrea, after you talk about the other camps, let’s talk about your actual website, where parents can purchase these kits too, if they can’t get to camp.

0:03:14.1 DB: The other camps that we have, so we have our Young Entrepreneurs camp. The Young Entrepreneurs camp is very similar to the Young Money Managers camp. It’s actually a… It’s going to run 30 minutes after our Young Money Managers camp ends, and that camp is called Entrepreneurship is Leadership, so our goal is to help students understand that entrepreneurship is a tool and resource, but leadership is an approach that you can take to entrepreneurship to really make community impact. So, students there, they’re going to learn about leadership styles and learn more about themselves, identity development, but then they’ll have a chance to really think about what are one of the impacts that they want to make or one of the problems they want to solve in the community. And the class is going to be built on really creating a plan to address a community need. The other great thing about that camp is toward the end you’ll be able to pitch your concept or idea to receive some support in growing the idea, especially to make the community impact.

0:04:11.8 LJJ: It’s like a garden start, right? Yeah.


0:04:16.1 DB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So again, my kids were very intentional about saying like, “Daddy, we really want to do stuff. We really want to make impact and not just talk or feel like we have instructors talking at us, we want some outcomes in it.” For me, it’s an honor to have my kids to be able to speak and to exist as some of these things, so even Percy, my kids have started T-shirt businesses, they help to speak into and create some of the resources and tools for our organization. But really trying to, again, stay close to home and then have that be applied to our curriculum out in the community.

0:04:47.8 LJJ: This is what I think is so amazing. You mentioned that you’re a parent and you brought your kids alongside you. You know, let’s talk about what’s going on in the economy today. Is that something that you guys are talking about at home? Because really, right now is the time to really start to open your eyes on what is happening with the stock market, with… Also, interest rates are going up, and this is something you don’t shy away from, is it?

0:05:13.3 DB: Yeah, we definitely don’t shy away from that. We actually had a conversation last week about the stock market, because my daughter, she is 12 years old, and she took our Young Money Investors class last year when it was virtual. And she’ll be taking it in person this year, so she’s already starting to learn and become more aware of the stock market. And she’s using one of the apps that we use in the classroom, and she was asking me, “Why is the stock market dropping so fast?” So, I was able to have a real conversation about my ideas and the reasons why I believe, but also encouraging her to further her research to learn more about why the stock market’s going down. But to see what do you do when something like that is happening, right? As an investor, what is the mindset that you should have? But then also talking about how gas prices are high, and that’s really impacting people’s ability to travel, to be free-flowing. What are some alternatives that you can do? Ride a bike, walk, catch a bus, things like that. And then, ultimately, food prices are going up as well, so really thinking about other alternatives, such as drinking more water as well as trying to go to other events where they’re offering food for free.

0:06:20.4 DB: So, these are conversations that I do not shy away from, because I want my kids to learn how to be able to navigate that ever-changing economy.

0:06:27.7 LJJ: So, tell us a little bit about your website. If people cannot join one of the classes, there’s ways though that you can still get involved in Young Money Finances.

0:06:36.8 DB: Yes, definitely, Lynne. So, one of the things that I do love about our website is it’s a hub for all things Young Money Finances. So, if you go to www.ymfgr.org, you’ll be able to see a wide range of different resources, tools, as well as videos that talk about our camps, that show you some of the things that we teach our students, but also your opportunity to purchase some of our money manager kits. So that’s at www.ymfgr.org/shop. You go there, you’ll be able to see all the kits that we have, what are in those kits, and then there’s videos attached that you can see how to utilize those kits, so if you’re not able to join us this summer, you can still purchase a kit and then figure out how and learn how to manage that kit outside of the classroom.

0:07:23.1 LJJ: That is awesome. And I know Consumers is so proud to become a partner with you, Dondrea, and Young Money Finances. I know that we’re going to be focusing on savings and producing some really wonderful videos for everyone to be able to utilize, but then also doing some of our own member camps, which we’re really excited about. So, thank you so much.

0:07:45.7 DB: Yeah, thank you! We definitely appreciate your partnership, because that was one of the things that we wanted to do with our organization, is partner with financial institutions, because we know that financial institutions also have resources and access to be able to help and assist the community. So, we see this as a village effort, a community effort, and we just want to continue to expand our reach and support our community.

0:08:06.3 LJJ: Well, and we are so proud to be a part of your village, so thank you so much.


0:08:09.8 DB: Thank you.

0:08:11.6 LJJ: Well, listen, everybody, if you have information that you’d like to share, just contact us. And if you would like more information on Young Money Finances, it’s www.ymfgr.org.

0:08:26.5 DB: Yep, go ahead and check us out. We have social media as well. At Instagram is @ymfgr, on our Instagram as well as our Facebook @ymfgr. And then you can always search us on YouTube by typing in Young Money Finances.

0:08:40.5 LJJ: Alright. Well, thank you so much, Dondrea. You have a great week.

0:08:41.8 DB: Thank you. You, too.

0:08:42.7 LJJ: And thank you for listening in. If you do have a topic, just send them our way. Thanks, Jake Esselink, for your production skills. I’m Lynne Jarman-Johnson with Consumers Credit Union. Money, I’m Home!

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  1. Lee Hagen says:

    Need MM rates and 1,2,3 yr cd rates

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